Note: This content is for informational purposes only. Minor Law Divorce Lawyers does not handle cases involving domestic violence at this time.
Facing charges of or being a victim of domestic violence in Rock Hill, SC, will undoubtedly bring up feelings of anxiety and fear. You may question what steps need to be taken or how you will protect yourself moving forward.
This article discusses important information regarding domestic violence in South Carolina. If you have questions about a domestic violence issue, contact a Rock Hill domestic violence lawyer for more information.
How An Attorney Can Help If You’re a Victim of Domestic Violence in Rock Hill, South Carolina
As a victim of domestic violence, it’s normal to feel scared and bewildered and to wonder where to turn. Fortunately, a domestic violence attorney can help you. Here’s how:
- Should your situation involve shared children, a competent attorney navigates child custody and visitation matters.
- Your lawyer can help you obtain a restraining order or protection order against the perpetrator. This legal order enforces physical boundaries keeping the accused away from you. It also puts in place restrictions about verbal communication.
- Your attorney can also guide through intricate processes involved in criminal prosecution of domestic violence cases.
If you’ve experienced domestic violence in Rock Hill, SC, contact a Rock Hill domestic violence lawyer to discuss your case.
Overview of Domestic Violence in South Carolina
In South Carolina, domestic violence is defined as causing harm or intending to cause harm against a “household member.”
A household member can be a current or former spouse, individuals who share a child, and people who live together or who previously lived together.
Domestic violence is broken down into different classifications:
Third-Degree Domestic Violence
Under South Carolina state law, a third-degree domestic violence charge occurs when a person:
- Causes physical harm or injury to a household member, or
- Has the present ability to carry out a threat to cause harm or injury, and
- Reasonably creates fear of imminent peril for the household member.
This is the most basic level of domestic violence offense.
Second-Degree Domestic Violence
A 3rd-degree charge can be upgraded to a 2nd-degree domestic violence charge if moderate bodily injury is inflicted, an order of protection is in place, the defendant has a prior domestic violence conviction in the past 10 years, or the offense is committed in the presence of a minor, among other scenarios.
First-Degree Domestic Violence
There are several circumstances that can elevate a case to a first-degree domestic violence charge.
Examples include great bodily injury or two previous convictions within the past 10 years, the presence of a minor, pregnancy of the victim, and interference with the victim’s ability to call for help.
Additionally, using a firearm during the act of domestic violence is considered an aggravating factor, which can lead to a first-degree domestic violence charge.
Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature (DVHAN)
This is recognized as the state’s most serious form of domestic violence. Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature will be charged when there is physical harm or an explicit threat to cause such harm to another household member, showing an extreme indifference to human life.
It can also be charged when there is a violation of an existing protection order while committing first-degree domestic violence.
How Does Domestic Violence Affect My Family Law Case in Rock Hill, South Carolina?
Domestic violence can have profound implications on your family law case in South Carolina, especially when child custody is under consideration.
South Carolina courts consistently prioritize the best interests of the child while determining custody arrangements. If there’s a proven history of domestic violence from one parent, it can play a significant role in these decisions.
Such findings might result in awarding sole custody to the non-violent parent – keeping children safe being paramount for courts. While the abusive parent won’t have custody, they may still have supervised visitation rights. During these supervisions, strict rules must be adhered to, which often include prohibiting drugs/alcohol 24 hours before each visit and no overnight stays.
In extreme cases where safety and welfare are significantly threatened, there can be a permanent termination of parental rights depending on what is in the best interests of the involved child.
Domestic Violence Can Also Impact Divorce Cases in South Carolina
Domestic violence can also affect divorce proceedings. South Carolina is the only state where incorporation of specific grounds for divorce are written into its Constitution: physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness/drug use, adultery, abandonment for one year, or continuous separation for one year.
Under these circumstances, a spouse can file for a fault-based divorce.
The bar set by family law standards for proving physical cruelty is quite high, and the fact that someone was charged with or convicted of domestic violence under criminal law doesn’t automatically mean the family courts will view their behaviors as physical cruelty.
That being said, discovery of past domestic abuse during divorce proceedings could alter certain aspects of the settlement, notably alimony and asset/debt division.
Schedule a Case Evaluation With A Rock Hill Domestic Violence Lawyer
Experiencing domestic violence can leave lasting scars both physically and emotionally. Additionally, being falsely accused can have a significant impact on your life.
If you need help with domestic violence issues in Rock Hill, South Carolina, contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer.